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Long Island Municipalities Receive $688 million to Protect South Shore Estuary Reserve

NYS Funds Programs to Improve Water Quality and Protect Public Health

Good news for the South Shore Estuary Reserve! New York State has funded several municipal projects that will reduce pollution entering waterways, restore shellfish populations, improve coastal resiliency, and protect the overall health of the SSER.

The SSER, which extends for over 70 miles along the Atlantic shoreline of Long Island, from Reynolds Channel in Nassau County to the eastern shores of Shinnecock Bay in Suffolk County, is not only an invaluable resource but provides recreation, tourism, and economic opportunities for millions of Long Islanders.  To protect this resource, the New York State Legislature created the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council in 1993. The Council was charged with developing and ultimately implementing a comprehensive management plan for the estuary, which continues to guide how we deal with issues like water quality protection, living resources, public use, water related economy, education and stewardship.

Several of the projects funded this year will not only benefit the SSER but also compliment county and state level programs, including Suffolk County’s efforts to move from outdated septics and cesspools toward advanced wastewater treatment systems, the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan, and ongoing state efforts to restore clams and oysters, protect salt marshes, and improve coastal resiliency on the south shore. Some of the projects that received funding include:

  • Freeport Community Development Agency and Operation SPLASH will install 37 catch basin inserts along heavy traffic areas near the industrial park in southeast Freeport; and near Merrick Road.
  • Nassau County Department of Public Works and the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District will remove Water Chestnut (Trapa natans), an invasive plant, from Massapequa Lake.
  • Town of Brookhaven and Seatuck Environmental Association will install an innovative/alternative onsite wastewater treatment system (I/A OWTS) at Corey Beach Park and Shirley Beach Park.
  • Town of Brookhaven and Cornell Cooperative Extension will implement an eelgrass restoration project on the south side of Bellport and Moriches bays.
  • Town of Hempstead will create two living shorelines to stabilize areas of salt marsh in Hempstead Bay
  • Town of Islip will install two algae bioreactors in the Town of lslip Shellfish Hatchery to increase algae production.
  • Village of Patchogue will retrofit eleven outfall pipes along the Patchogue River to remove sediment and trash from stormwater.

You can find a full list of projects here and make sure you are signed for the LI Clean Water Partnership’s alerts to get updates on efforts to protect the SSER.